- Starlink is “space-based” internet. It uses satellites to provide internet to remote places.
- The network is already the most comprehensive satellite internet in the world.
- Starlink is more expensive than most types of internet.
In a recent podcast interview on the Full Send Podcast, Elon Musk discusses something that sounds straight out of a sci-fi film: space internet! While this technology may sound a bit far-fetched, it’s in use now. Elon Musk thinks that not enough people are talking about how amazing it is.
Watch Elon discuss space-based internet with pickup truck-sized satellites below!
What is Starlink?
The “space-based internet” that Elon Musk refers to in the podcast interview is just that, the internet that comes from space via satellite. Only for Elon, the plain-old satellite isn’t going to cut it. As he explains:
“Starlink is space-based internet. We’ve got a constellation of satellites, well over 2,000 satellites, and we’ll soon have 4,000 satellites. We actually have more satellites than the rest of earth combined. ”
Essentially, the network is already the most comprehensive satellite internet in the world and will only get bigger. Why would someone use Starlink? It depends on where they live. Starlink is essentially a way to access the internet from anywhere in the world.
High-speed internet access is mostly an afterthought for someone living in the city. For people in rural locations, internet access is significantly slower. Essentially, Starlink will allow anyone to access high-speed internet without corporate installation.
What makes Starlink internet special?
Many people may have heard of satellite internet, but what makes Starlink any different than Hughesnet or ViaSat is its speed, cost, and ease of use. Here are some stats from Ookla, a leader in measuring internet speeds:
- Starlink: 97.23 Mbps at 45 ms ping
- HughesNet: 19.73 Mbps at 724 ms ping
- Viasat: 18.13 Mbps at 630 ms ping
Starlink is faster, has significantly reduced latency (enough to game on), and is more stable throughout the day. The reason it’s so much better than its competitors is because it uses a different kind of satellite in a different kind of orbit.
Starlink uses thousands of LEO (low earth orbit) satellites about the size of a pickup truck flying within 550 to 1,200 km of earth. On the other hand, HughesNet and Viasat use fewer, further satellites that are in a geosynchronous orbit nearly 35,000 km away.
What are the disadvantages of Starlink?
Starlink is basically more expensive than most types of internet. For the residential plan, you’ll end up paying over $100 a month with an upfront cost of almost $600 dollars. Starlink in the long run may not be expensive, but the first time step up process will cost you a pretty penny. Although other satellite internet services are much more expensive than even 5G, it is still a disadvantage to the service.
Another common reason is sky pollution. Many aren’t happy about Musk’s Starlink satellites effecting views of the sky. Part of the problem is that the satellites hang in low-earth orbit, so anyone who looks up can see these bright specs moving along the sky at a rapid yet steady speed.
How much will Starlink internet cost?
As it stands, Starlink is probably the best option when it comes to rural communities or places with no internet access. It is pretty expensive, although it is comparable to the price of any other satellite internet company. After a one-time equipment fee of $599, it will cost $110 a month for around 100 Mbps. For reference, HughesNet costs $149.99 monthly for its 75GB plan, although there isn’t an equipment fee.
Starlink is currently available, although there are some waiting lists for places with a high density of users. You can check the availability here.
Should more people be talking about Starlink, as Elon suggests? Probably! It will likely change the world of internet access for rural communities across the planet.
Watch Elon discuss space-based internet below:
- Elon Jokes He Shouldn’t Visit Russia After Aiding Ukraine (with Starlink access)
- Elon Musk Discusses Why He Moved From California To Texas
- Starlink — Complete Guide: History, Products, Founding, and more
The image featured at the top of this post is ©JD Lasica Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.